Senate spending

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Polinaut has hot-off-the-press spending targets proposed in the Minnesota Senate, relative to the budget forecast.  At first glance, it doesn’t look good for the environment. In the arena I follow most closely (sorry transit), here’s what they are proposing:

Environment, Energy and Natural Resources:

  • FY 08-09 budget forecast = $314,762,000
  • Senate’s proposed increase in spending above forecast = $20,000,000 (6% increase)
  • Governor’s proposed increase in spending above forecast = $ 76,897,000 (24% increase)
    (Included in this is $19,716,000 in one time appropriations)

Agriculture and Veterans (that’s just the way they are divided)

  • FY 08-09 budget forecast = $134,791,000
  • Senate’s proposed increase in spending above forecast = $32,000,000 (24% increase)
  • Governor’s proposed increase in spending above forecast = $39,673,000 (29% increase)
    (Included in this is $2,685,000 in one time appropriations)

I will point out a couple of things.  One, the Governor’s numbers include one-time spending as shown.  As best as I can tell, the Senate numbers do not.  This still puts the Governor ahead in spending in both categories without one time money. (John Tuma has a good primer on one-time and on going funding amounts available in his last capitol update).   

Two, the Senate could still prove better if they try hard.  Because there is still approximately a billion dollars left for the Senate to spend in one time money, they could still do lots of good things for Clean Water Legacy and other environmental spending with that money.  To fully fund Clean Water Legacy, it would take $200 million of that $1 billion or so that is out there (although some of their proposed $20 million increase listed above may also apply, depending on how they spend it).  The Governor has proposed only spending $40 million during the next biennium for Clean Water Legacy. 

There is also the issue of a constitutional amendment to increase the state sales tax and dedicate the proceeds, in some percentage, to environmental programs.  The Senate seems keen on doing that this year, but rumors are abound today about what shape that may take.  That couldn’t happen until the FY 10 though, so while it affects the future of Clean Water Legacy funding, it wouldn’t alter the above budget numbers. 

So how about it Senate?  You have passed some good policy bills this year.  What about spending money though?  When it comes down to making tough choices about how the money is spent, will you support a cleaner, healthier environment?

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